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"The reason many people worry that the written form is dying, and the reason most writers consider online publication second-rate, is that no journal has yet succeeded in marrying the editorial rigors of print to the freedoms of the internet." -- The new journal Wag's Review attempts to bridge the gap. Included are an interview with David Eggers and a near 30-page treatise On Douchebags.
posted by HumanComplex (113 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
no journal has yet succeeded in marrying the editorial rigors of print to the freedoms of the internet

Given that I am unable to select and copy text from that "Douchebag" article in order quote a passage here, this would appear to still be the case.
posted by dersins at 11:27 AM on April 30, 2009 [22 favorites]


excerpted [and retyped] from "On Douchebags":

I performed a quick lexical dissection. Douchebag? Douche-bag? Douche bag? Sort of a douchebag. A real douchebag. That fucking douchebag. The word began to disintegrate. The closer I looked at it, the harder it was to discern exactly what it meant.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:31 AM on April 30, 2009


apologies: Wag's Revue not review
posted by HumanComplex at 11:31 AM on April 30, 2009


Turn in your tweed jacket!
posted by Artw at 11:34 AM on April 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


dersins points out the complete irony of publishing text as.. what... a series of images of pages? Seriously? That has to be a joke.
posted by odinsdream at 11:37 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


If this is editorial rigor, it's time to take a great big whomping dose of Ex-Lax.
posted by blucevalo at 11:38 AM on April 30, 2009


I was so disappointed in this site that I emailed them.

Images. Really.

The content could be the best fucking text that's ever been committed to human thought and, yes, the medium would completely obscure and obliterate the message. It's as though they made a conscious choice to present a brash middle finger to anyone who likes, I dunno, text.
posted by abulafa at 11:39 AM on April 30, 2009


Well, son, when print's editorial rigor and the Internet's freedom want to love each other very much but are very self-important and not terribly smart, sometimes instead of just text or pictures or text next to pictures, something bad happens and you end up with pictures of text.

That's why you never see anyone talking about them, or hear them talking about anyone but themselves. They can't. Nobody can quote them, nobody can send excerpts to friends without retyping them in full. They don't know how to share or be shared so they just sit in their corner, sad little publications, with nobody to love them, and eventually they shrink and shrink until they disappear.

Watch what happens to this one.
posted by mhoye at 11:40 AM on April 30, 2009 [16 favorites]


a near 30-page treatise On Douchebags

Douchebag, n.:
1. A person who would write a 30-page treatise on douchebags
2. An exceptionally pretentious dilettante, e.g. David Eggers
posted by spiderwire at 11:41 AM on April 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


I thought the "Douchebags" article was very poorly written. And then he started quoting Lacan. Thanks, dude, I'm glad you went to Swarthmore so you can bring us your wisdoms.
posted by nasreddin at 11:41 AM on April 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


That 30-page treatise was itself written by a douchebag. Hurf durf I'm at a monastery aren't I cool. What he doesn't grasp is that hipsters are a subset of douchebags.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:41 AM on April 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


spiderwire read me like a book.
posted by HumanComplex at 11:44 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


a near 30-page treatise On Douchebags

I was hoping for something as breezy, smart and fun as On Bullshit, but that 30-page treatise was unreadable garbage.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:45 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


That douchebag thing is the worst thing I've ever read. And I've read Twilight.
posted by padraigin at 11:45 AM on April 30, 2009 [8 favorites]


Related
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:47 AM on April 30, 2009


spiderwire read me like a book.

Is that a statement or a request?
posted by spiderwire at 11:48 AM on April 30, 2009


Douchebag is not a taxonomic term. It is possible to be a douchebag and simultaneously belong to any subculture or group. There are douchebags in all walks of life. It's, quite simply, a word to call someone that you don't like.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 11:48 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is that a statement or a request?

Is that a statement or a request?

Statement, one-love.
posted by mhoye at 11:52 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


(blast...)
posted by mhoye at 11:53 AM on April 30, 2009


but that 30-page treatise was unreadable garbage.

What, just because the very first clause is a misguided and objectively wrong simile? "I was 22 years old and about as stable as a three legged chair."
posted by dersins at 11:53 AM on April 30, 2009 [10 favorites]


What he doesn't grasp is that hipsters are a subset of douchebags.

I'll expand on this: Douchebags are defined by slavish efforts toward being a particular type of person among categories other than "good person", "honest person", etc. Douchebags are people that work hard to appear cynical, wealthy, cool, elite, etc. in a manner that betrays what they actually do. Hipsters work hard to be unique collages of a million tiny stupid cultural relics and in doing so they are douchebags, but other douchebags include the truly junior investment banker with Patrick Bateman hair and the guy at the gym that waxes his eyebrows.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:56 AM on April 30, 2009 [7 favorites]


dersins points out the complete irony of publishing text as.. what... a series of images of pages? Seriously? That has to be a joke.

JPEGS? For text? WHAT THE FUCK?
posted by Artw at 11:56 AM on April 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


Words fail me. Inextricably mixing data with presentation is such a rookie design failure that I support banning them from the web, forever.
posted by mullingitover at 11:58 AM on April 30, 2009


Words fail me. Inextricably mixing data with presentation is such a rookie design failure that I support banning them from the web, forever.

The Smoking Gun could be damned with the same stroke of the pen.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:05 PM on April 30, 2009


We will re-conceptualize the printed page online, and we will explore its space, cultivate its aesthetics. Presentation will be sleek, clean, and controlled.

We will accomplish this by pretending that the entire history of interface design on the web never happened; that we've learned nothing about the differences between reading text online versus reading it from a printed page; that UI is meaningless; that searchability, indexing, easy citation and readability are trumped by our designer's fetish for fully justified text and dingbats between paragraphs. In short, we will produce an interface identical to those created by "E-Book" companies circa 1999, blindly carrying over familiar print layout standards into an environment to which they are not at all suited, because the web is scary and we don't like it very much.

That print titans can't get the Web right either shouldn't be surprising: the best carriage makers didn't make the best cars.

Yeah, no fucking shit.
posted by ook at 12:06 PM on April 30, 2009 [11 favorites]


Look at it this way. At least Google won't try very hard to index their content.
posted by kingbenny at 12:07 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


The 'three-legged chair' simile-fail actually made me laugh. Laugh, and then close the tab.
posted by CKmtl at 12:10 PM on April 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Smoking Gun could be damned with the same stroke of the pen.

The Smoking Gun is generally publishing scans of existing documents. That's an entirely different animal.
posted by dersins at 12:12 PM on April 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Inextricably mixing data with presentation is such a rookie design failure that I support banning them from the web, forever.

Well, I don't know about a perma-ban. Maybe just a newting. But yes, they fail. When I visited the site and tried to read the article, the busy server couldn't deliver the images as fast as I could read them. Images-as-text are an order of magnitude larger than the text itself, and the effect is not at all worth it as others have pointed out.

Moreover, the virtual "pages" didn't fit vertically on my screen, so I kept having to scroll down, and then back up again to "turn" the "page". (for 30 pages?! I don't think so!)
posted by Maximian at 12:13 PM on April 30, 2009


I appreciate what they're trying to do, and I really think there's both a need and a demand for well-edited, erudite commentary online … but this is bordering on facepalm-worthy. Assuming the whole point is to bring what's good about traditional paper publication online, they seem to be hauling an awful lot of baggage (like the idea of "pages" to begin with; I won't even get into the whole text-as-images thing) along for the ride. It borders almost on contempt for the medium, really.

However the underlying intent, however poor the execution, is admirable. As it becomes more and more clear that newspapers and "traditional" print journalism is on its way out, I find it hard to criticize any attempt to transition the hard-won lessons of print to the online world.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:16 PM on April 30, 2009


The Smoking Gun is generally publishing scans of existing documents. That's an entirely different animal.

Not entirely. There is always OCR. And to the extent that a "literary journal" (such as it exists here as Wag's Review) may want to extend the same metaphor to what it is putting out, it is not all that different from TSG.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:22 PM on April 30, 2009


I bet these dudes smoke cloves.
posted by The Straightener at 12:31 PM on April 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


I can't post what I want to say until the IMG tag is brought back, but it is scathing.
posted by Elmore at 12:31 PM on April 30, 2009 [11 favorites]


This is fuck all like TSG.
posted by Artw at 12:33 PM on April 30, 2009


Anybody who publishes a treatise on douchebags of all things and then bemoans the death of print should be ignored.

We don't need another hipper-than-thou, textually dense journal like McSweeney's.

We need more honest, heartfelt, documentary writing that appeals to more people than a few overeducated hipsters wearing trucker caps.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:37 PM on April 30, 2009


Seems to me the entire site is a treatise on douchebags.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:39 PM on April 30, 2009 [4 favorites]


They could at least have used PNG. Jesus.
posted by sonic meat machine at 12:41 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


The 'three-legged chair' simile-fail actually made me laugh. Laugh, and then close the tab.

That is amazingly bad - wow... I closed it much too quickly.
posted by odinsdream at 12:41 PM on April 30, 2009


This is fuck all like TSG.

With respect to quality of content, I'm in total agreement.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:41 PM on April 30, 2009


"The reason many people worry that the written form is dying, and the reason most writers consider online publication second-rate, is that no journal has yet succeeded in marrying the editorial rigors of print to the freedoms of the internet."

Seriously?! Seriously? I know the poetry world better, but with magazines like diagram and Umbrella and fou (which is just beautiful, and uses the design potential of the internet to good, not obnoxious effect) and about a bazillion other really excellent online-only publications, not to mention all the really solid print journals like agni and Verse that put out poety in online-only editions, to claim that you're the first to bring respectability to authors that publish on the internet is not only naive and uninformed, but insulting to all of the really excellent writers out there who have been publishing in online forums, and all of the really talented editors (whose standards are no less rigorous than the print counterparts) who have been kind enough to present that work to the public.

Christ, that sentence made me angry.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:42 PM on April 30, 2009 [25 favorites]


With respect to design, I could disagree some more.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:43 PM on April 30, 2009


Dude. .jpg pages? Instatpaper, man. Instapaper.

Ugh.
posted by GilloD at 12:44 PM on April 30, 2009


It looks horrendous.

The last time I saw their title font was on a cheap bottle of Australian wine.
posted by fire&wings at 12:46 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


PhoBWanKenobi: There's an FPP in your comment, btw.
posted by odinsdream at 12:47 PM on April 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also -- they've left widows hanging all over the place; they aren't bothering to hyphenate, which causes the justification to leave huge ugly gaps between words, especially around the pullquotes; I count four different margin widths on a single page; they even fully-justify centered text for chrissakes.

Guys, if you're going to go to such extreme lengths to try to mimic a print layout on the web, how about if you go ahead and hire someone who knows how to do a print layout?
posted by ook at 12:49 PM on April 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


I pushed the first page through convert to pnm and gocr. The output is just as good:
I wa5 2 ye5 aI an ahaut a5 sTLbIe as a hree-Iegged chair
sIeep-lepjve, unerfel, pJ8guel hy nighc cerron fram The m4Iia
meWc8ion-when I st Ie8r0ed th8 wbiyIby si0g u feeI wbe0
yow seIf-ige is r8cdIy dtered in a bImh. Piern and I were standing
tenuou5Iy an the bLck humper or a matar-rick5haw Ls ve tare dn a
irt coa sTue with 5keIeTd cmvq and Pierre 5 vhLt he said,
d I feI The nny feeJing. My he8l lil noc feeI Iihe i w4s spinning
so much 8s suctw8y re>on g itse I t'rom the i0siJe out,
rechIess Iy, with et speed and consider8bIe d8mage, 8s i must feeI
ta undecgo an Oviian 0slarmation. This happens ta peapIe mery
d4y. The c0rp0rale empIoyee af 32 yes nds T h4c he h8s hecome
oWoIee; he f8son moeI yresses 8n i0Jex to he >orner o her eye,
nIy ttenin3 her Mst crm' loot and m'shmg ' d ished hi3h
schaoI. A soIdier nd5 ouT the v i5 ovec, a pcisanec is reIeLsed, a
former presienT Ie8ues omce; 4II Three sle 0ul a Nindow and reaIize,
with 8 o g se0se ot' We8J, ht they e no Ionger equiyped t' fe
b8ch ho.
In my cLse, I Ieacned ThLt I came aff a5 a dauchebag.
The sm0Ilejng, w4sed Idsc4pe 0f Bih8r roJIed by. Pierre hIinhel
Kew imes, yerh8ps resenng my mn>e wib 8 t'eeli0g of reet.
M8nifoId connot8ons cIiched tbrough my head: 8 rubber bu Ib mh
L hase Ltached; a y I hnev in high schaoI vho nicknamed him5eIf
''The Hammer'' d gat Iaid o om Be Sens; L 5ummer'5
hree2e hrgh fe4Thel, shouJer-Iengh hrawn hr, 8n he Nars
''Seimes I just o0't feeI mesh, eve0 ur sbowe'; s0icherine
posted by a robot made out of meat at 12:49 PM on April 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


Having a manifesto is usually a good indicator of douchebaggery right there.
posted by adipocere at 12:50 PM on April 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


We need more honest, heartfelt, documentary writing that appeals to more people than a few overeducated hipsters wearing trucker caps.

Not that I disagree with you, but, dude...it's been years since trucker caps stopped being trendy.
posted by nasreddin at 12:51 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


We need more honest, heartfelt, documentary writing

Jedediah Purdy, is that you?

/NOT EARNEST-IST
posted by everichon at 12:51 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


EMRJKC'94: are you referring to the OP or Metafilter?
posted by slogger at 12:52 PM on April 30, 2009


The Boy Bedlam Review was a short-lived experiment in the direction of Wag. Check it out.
posted by bedlam at 12:52 PM on April 30, 2009


Having a manifesto is usually a good indicator of douchebaggery right there.

The web never used to be like this. It's the communiss, I tell you.
posted by Maximian at 12:54 PM on April 30, 2009


Damn you all.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:05 PM on April 30, 2009


Maximian, don't forget they bess friend–the socialiss!
posted by Mister_A at 1:06 PM on April 30, 2009


I have a suggestion for Issue 2: "On Facepalm".

*facepalm*
posted by GuyZero at 1:07 PM on April 30, 2009


The key word in the fpp is attempt. They may as well attempt to swallow Saturn, or attempt to smell Uranus, as the chance of success in those endeavors is simular to their chance of success in their attempt to make good internet word thing.
posted by Mister_A at 1:09 PM on April 30, 2009


A treatise? On d-d-douchebags? WHY, HOW DELIGHTFULLY DROLL!

This reads like it was written by an unfunny person who can't write.
posted by Damn That Television at 1:09 PM on April 30, 2009


In next month's Wag's Revue:

Pirates vs Ninjas: Splendiferous or Magnificent?

Linux is for Dorks

Why I Spent $9.50 on a Notebook

Epistemology and Other Words with which I Have a Nodding Familiarity
posted by Mister_A at 1:14 PM on April 30, 2009 [9 favorites]


Hey, say what you will, but at least someone finally managed to get an interview with Dave Eggers.
posted by Damn That Television at 1:24 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mister_A yes, I should have emphasized attempts.
posted by HumanComplex at 1:31 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mister_A yes, I should have emphasized attempts.

Editoriali.. aw, fuggit, we're cool.
posted by kingbenny at 1:40 PM on April 30, 2009


Douchebag, n.:
1. A person who would write a 30-page treatise on douchebags
2. An exceptionally pretentious dilettante, e.g. David Eggers


"Dave Eggers is a Pulizer Prize-nominateed author and founder of both McSweeney's, an independent publishing house in San Francisco, and the 826 Valencia volunteer centers nationwide. He collaborated with Valentino Achak Deng of Sudan on the book 'What Is The What; much of his recent work has focused on the Valentino Achak Deng foundation, which provides educational opportunities for Sudanese refugees."

Helping kids learn to read?
Helping Sudanese refugees get an education?
Yeah, what a Douchebag!
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 1:52 PM on April 30, 2009 [10 favorites]


"Epistemology and Other Words with which I Have a Nodding Familiarity"

Goddamn, Mister_A, that is the most brilliant title I've seen in forever. Now I really want to read that.
posted by MrVisible at 1:53 PM on April 30, 2009


You can do lots of nice stuff and still be a pretentious dilletante.
posted by sonic meat machine at 1:53 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


You can do lots of nice stuff and still be a pretentious dilletante.

Yeah, charity doesn't let you off the douchebag hook. Case in point: Bono.
posted by nasreddin at 1:55 PM on April 30, 2009 [9 favorites]


I'm working on it, MrVisible. We Misters have to stick together!
posted by Mister_A at 1:56 PM on April 30, 2009


Metafilter: I Ieacned ThLt I came aff a5 a dauchebag.
posted by Skot at 2:05 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bono, Eggers and Doctorow should battle for supremacy on the top of hate mountain.
posted by Artw at 2:08 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Tags: literary douchebag magazine. Yeah, pretty much.

Look, I am one of the few people who'll admit to liking Dave Eggers just fine, and I think that a treatise on douchebags could - I guess - in the right hands be cool or interesting. But this "magazine," regardless of the subject matter, is uniformly terrible.

Take a gander at this piece of shit, for instance: "there were no televisions or computers or even radios allowed in the monastery [...] so when we weren't writing candlelit exegeses about the metaphysical implications of blahblahblahblah." I thought living in a monastery was supposed to make you humble, for one; for two, writing the phrase the metaphysical implications of with all seriousness makes you a grade-A radioactive douchebag. Just awful, terrible writing.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:09 PM on April 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


You can do lots of nice stuff and still be a pretentious dilletante.

If we're using the most common meaning of dilettante - an insincere, trend-obsessed dabbler in the arts - then I call bullshit on this too.

McSweeney's has been a significant source of new writing and an incubator for writers for over a decade. What is the What was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and one of the most powerful and moving novels by a contemporary writer I've read in years, whether it's fashionable right now to hate on Eggers or not. The Believer's been publishing for six years now and going strong in a collapsing market. Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. in Park Slope serves as a front for a long-running literacy centre, is charmingly whimsical as all get out, and continues a decade-long Eggers-related retail/charity presence in that neighbourhood.

Bullshit that's the work of a dilettante.
posted by gompa at 2:12 PM on April 30, 2009 [17 favorites]


You can do lots of nice stuff and still be a pretentious dilletante.

Yeah, charity doesn't let you off the douchebag hook. Case in point: Bono.


This is very true. I would argue that Dave Eggers is no Bono.

I understand there's lots of people who hate Dave Eggers, for his writing style or for opening the door to many bad imitations of his writing style... and I know there's lots of pretentious people that like (or pretend to like) Dave Eggers and McSweeney's... and I understand the whole "Hipster Backlash" thing (things (like McSweeney's) get too cool, so then it's cool to hate them) but Dave Eggers is no pretentious dilettante. I see someone 'pretentious' as pretending to like writing or art, without really knowing what they're talking about. I see a 'dilettante' as someone who is a superfical dabbler. Eggers is none of those things. Even if you hate his style, the man has devoted his life to writing and art and he channels the money he receives for his work into helping kids learn to read. He's a very sincere guy.

Yeah, I know, it's cool to scoff at sincerity...

(on preview: damn right, gompa!)
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 2:15 PM on April 30, 2009 [10 favorites]


Eck. The text looks like shit, too. It's rendered poorly, at least on my monitor, and is murky and hard to read. Just a bizarre approach to take...

And I agree with gompa; Eggers has been editing periodicals for, what? 15 years now? And he's a published author with three (?) bestsellers? I'm just not seeing the dilettantism here.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:18 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was disappointed that it isn't actually a treatise on douche-bags, but some sort of discussion of mainstream culture vs. counter culture that dissolves into douche-bags vs. hipsters.

What I learned:

Comfortable clothes => douche-bag
Skin-tight jeans => hipster
posted by jeffamaphone at 2:19 PM on April 30, 2009


I've now read the words 'hipster' and 'douchebag' over and over on two sites: Wagsrevue and Metafilter.
posted by dydecker at 2:21 PM on April 30, 2009


Are we the hipsters or the douchebags?

And is hipsters v. douchebags the new greasers v. socs, the new mods v. rockers, or the new ninjas v. pirates?

or is it the new marbury v. madison?

posted by dersins at 2:25 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm with Douchebag Block, who are you fighting with?
posted by Artw at 2:28 PM on April 30, 2009


I ploughed through that treatise. Every page took longer to download than I spent reading, and didn't fit on my screen. It was barely legible with my eyesight (and my defiantly prescription glasses). It referred to things I know about, and told me nothing new. It referred to things I don't know about, and told me nothing about them. It didn't entertain me. In its own perverse way, it's a thing of perfection.

Plus, in all of this, they really mean "the X vs the Y vs people who don't really care vs the vast majority of people who don't even know". I would attempt to critique more thoroughly, but I think "thorough critique" is the problem they were attempting to solve with that interface.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 2:48 PM on April 30, 2009


In another few years they'll discover PDF!
posted by Artw at 3:00 PM on April 30, 2009


Do I have to be either a hipster or a douchebag? Cos I don't own a fixed-gear bicycle, and that leaves me with 'douchebag', and I don't want to be a douchebag.

The heck with this internet business I am taking my douchey ass outside.
posted by everichon at 3:06 PM on April 30, 2009


I want to clarify something: I don't actually think Dave Eggers is a pretentious dilettante. I pounced on the easy cleverness rather than explain my views clearly; my mistake.

I don't like Eggers' writing style or the writers he has inspired—I consider them sort of "suburban gothic" writers, in a way, and bounced hard off the Eggers I have attempted to read—but he's certainly not a dilettante. That said, I work on the web a lot (doing both independent writing you've never heard of and independent web design you've never heard of), and Wag's Revue is offensively bad as an attempt to bring "serious writing" to the Internet.
posted by sonic meat machine at 3:19 PM on April 30, 2009


I thought these were douchebags?
posted by jester69 at 3:24 PM on April 30, 2009


Says the Manifesto: "Readers end up with entire cows' asses on their plates, rather than the succulent, butterflied filets they were hoping for."

I am having trouble reconciling that complaints with the decision to run the On Douchebags article. It that what they mean by succulent, butterflied filets? Not only do I feel like it is something of a cow's ass... it's only a god-damned picture of one! How am I supposed to eat that, metaphorically speaking?
posted by FishBike at 3:25 PM on April 30, 2009


McSweeney's has been a significant source of new writing and an incubator for writers for over a decade.

This is exactly the publication that came to mind when I read that sweeping, inaccurate declaration that no one has successfully married good writing with the internet's freedom. The design on this is pretty awful, too, as has been mentioned numerous times so far.

I once tried to make an online magazine using a concept similar to this - paper-looking pages on a table-looking background, read one page at a time, "turning" pages by clicking the lower right-hand corner. And because it was written in HTML and not Flash, the pages loaded pretty quickly, too. I was pretty pleased with myself until I saw that I couldn't copy/pasted the text from the jpeg. The whole thing ended with a "Well, screw this idea, then" and progressed to each issue being one continuous page of one scrollable window per story, with target links to all the other stories next to each window. That was a lot more comfortable to work with, as a writer and a reader.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:30 PM on April 30, 2009


The reason many people worry that the written form is dying, and the reason most writers consider online publication second-rate, is that no journal has yet succeeded in marrying the editorial rigors of print to the freedoms of the internet.

Um, no, the reason people worry that the written form is dying and consider online second-rate is that IT'S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE GET PAID DOING WRITING THAT HAS DEPTH, ANALYSIS AND REQUIRES TIME-CONSUMING REPORTING ANY MORE!!!!

The problem is not a dearth of outlets, nor a lack of talent, nor a lack of ingenuity but the basic need to earn a living.

And I say this as someone who is still making a living at it. I didn't even bother with the douchebags.
posted by Maias at 3:35 PM on April 30, 2009 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: unique collages of a million tiny stupid cultural relics.


Sorry, it looks so fun when others do that I had to try it myself. It was pretty fun!
posted by Glee at 3:42 PM on April 30, 2009


I see someone 'pretentious' as pretending to like writing or art, without really knowing what they're talking about.

I think most people use the other meaning of 'pretentious': self-important, showy, pompous; opposite of humble, down-to-earth, etc. So it's entirely possible to genuinely like writing/art and be a pretentious writer/artist.
posted by CKmtl at 4:20 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]



This reads like it was written by an unfunny person who can't write.


I wonder if they're hiring?
posted by minifigs at 4:37 PM on April 30, 2009


Sure, Eggers has done wonderful things, but so what? So have Bernie Madoff and Sir Allan Stanford. I'm delighted that kids are benefiting from his programs but the programs don't mean he's a great guy.

He seems, to me, to be an attention-hog who was savvy enough to see that there is immense prestige in eleemosynary activities that rarely accrues to someone who is merely a literary writer. As the founder of a network of kids' after-school programs, Eggers is lavishly feted, invited to give TED talks, given big grants and awards, and is treated as a heroic benefactor.

There are too many well-supported stories of Eggers being a vile, abusive, callous shit (from the way he treats family members to treating eager interviewers abusively) for me to think that his network of after-school programs makes him a great guy. Like many egomaniacs, he's chosen a high-profile charitable endeavor to make himself look good, and the kids he's helped are a fortunate side-effect of his egomania.
posted by jayder at 4:53 PM on April 30, 2009 [3 favorites]


If you think I am a douchebag, favorite this comment.
posted by jabberjaw at 4:56 PM on April 30, 2009


eleemosynary

Hey, I get the word of the day email too!
posted by synaesthetichaze at 4:57 PM on April 30, 2009 [6 favorites]


The interview with Wells Tower is great, if anyone's interested.
posted by mediareport at 4:59 PM on April 30, 2009


eleemosynary

eleemosynary

eleemosynary

eleemosynary
posted by everichon at 5:04 PM on April 30, 2009


Goddam it , big tag, you let me down.
posted by everichon at 5:05 PM on April 30, 2009


There are too many well-supported stories of Eggers being a vile, abusive, callous shit

I'd be curious to see those stories; I'd only ever assumed that people hated him because they found him precious, not because of his moral failings.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:06 PM on April 30, 2009


There are too many well-supported stories of Eggers being a vile, abusive, callous shit

See now, that's one of those places where marrying the freedoms of the internet would be real handy - as in, would it really be so hard to back your insults up with links?
posted by mediareport at 5:07 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is my opportunity to tell my own personal David Eggers story. (It's not very personal.)

At a reading, I'm pretty sure for Heartbreaking Work of Etc, he brought along his own opening act -- contractually, according to the organizers, as in he agreed to do this reading only on condition that he also be allowed to bring, well, this very old veteran of some war or other who I don't remember well other than that he had had some sort of health / fitness epiphany and now wanted to travel around telling people about it. So this room full of the sort of people who go to David Eggers readings for fun spent an uncomfortable half hour or so sitting in library chairs while this man, coated in flop sweat, tried in apparently total earnest to get us to stand up and do calisthenics with him.

It is still unclear whether David Eggers intended this to be a joke on a) the audience, or b) the veteran, or if c) it was intended as some kind of self-deprecating mechanism which just completely failed to go over.
posted by ook at 5:30 PM on April 30, 2009


TL;DR
posted by humannaire at 6:08 PM on April 30, 2009


It is still unclear whether David Eggers intended this to be a joke on a) the audience, or b) the veteran, or if c) it was intended as some kind of self-deprecating mechanism which just completely failed to go over.

Or, d) Eggers thought this guy was great and had something of value to impart to others who might otherwise not ever hear of him, so he used his privilege to give him a platform.
posted by tristeza at 6:25 PM on April 30, 2009


I swear I didn't learn eleemosynary from a damned word of the day e-mail, though I admit that it being featured two days ago is mighty incriminating.

You douchebags.
posted by jayder at 6:47 PM on April 30, 2009


Ladies and gentlemen, I draw your attention to page 53: BLUE HYACINTH.
posted by lucius at 7:00 PM on April 30, 2009


Also, it's only $20 to submit.
posted by lucius at 7:00 PM on April 30, 2009


You could sort of watch the audience trying to hold on to d) as a charitable possibility while they sat there, tristeza, and one by one give up on the idea.
posted by ook at 7:14 PM on April 30, 2009


Has anyone worked out how to print the articles? I mean besides having to print each individual page image?
posted by surenoproblem at 7:18 PM on April 30, 2009


lucius, what exactly is it supposed to do? All it does in Firefox 3.0.10 is go moderately haywire when I mouse over different parts of the text.
posted by sonic meat machine at 7:39 PM on April 30, 2009


"At the moment, we're not looking for any unsolicited submissions (except for our contest—read about it in the Submit tab)."

...

"First prize in each category receives $500 and publication in Wag's Revue, and all submissions are considered for publication."


So... no submissions except the ones that generate a nice little spurt of revenue per submission, in an environment that seems to be lacking any other revenue stream (ads, subscriptions)? Consider me skeptical.

Also, no mention of any sort of payment for runners-up upon publication, and no mention of what rights are being granted upon submission or publication?

I can't be arsed to skim through its 'pages'; is this sort of stuff covered anywhere inside the thing? Or is it one of those hippy, drippy "Hey, man, don't harsh our mellow with that money- and law-talk. This is about literature, man." things?
posted by CKmtl at 7:50 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Take a gander at this piece of shit, for instance: "there were no televisions or computers or even radios allowed in the monastery [...] so when we weren't writing candlelit exegeses about the metaphysical implications of blahblahblahblah." I thought living in a monastery was supposed to make you humble, for one; for two, writing the phrase the metaphysical implications of with all seriousness makes you a grade-A radioactive douchebag. Just awful, terrible writing.

Huh? What is it about the phrase "metaphysical implications" that makes you thing it's particularly douchebaggy? I mean are you saying that there is nothing which has any metaphysical implications? Eggers was talking about Pratītyasamutpāda, which seems like the kind of thing which that could, upon learning of, might have an affect on your understanding of metaphysics.

In fact you could go so far as to say that a statement in the form "if P then metaphysics has the following properties (q1, q2, ... qn)" would be an implication about metaphysics, right?
posted by delmoi at 8:30 PM on April 30, 2009


"The reason many people worry that the written form is dying, and the reason most writers consider online publication second-rate, is that no journal has yet succeeded in marrying the editorial rigors of print to the freedoms of the internet."

i'm reading this on my kindle and laughing my ass off.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:39 PM on April 30, 2009


To be fair, the douchebag article author says on page 67

"You think I am a douchebag for writing this."
posted by telstar at 12:24 AM on May 1, 2009


It's not all jpegs. In the Poetry section there's this HTML page of "stir fry text", which is some seriously freaky stuff. It won't sit still long enough for me to decide whether I like it.
posted by rory at 2:28 AM on May 1, 2009


It finally sat still. I don't.
posted by rory at 2:31 AM on May 1, 2009


Huh? What is it about the phrase "metaphysical implications" that makes you thing it's particularly douchebaggy? I mean are you saying that there is nothing which has any metaphysical implications? Eggers was talking about Pratītyasamutpāda, which seems like the kind of thing which that could, upon learning of, might have an affect on your understanding of metaphysics.

It was Moor, not Eggers. And you cut short my quote: the phrase "metaphysical implications" is fine; however, paired with Pratītyasamutpāda (changed to blahblahblah in my quote), it's too horribly irritating to think about.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:06 AM on May 1, 2009


Peter: Yeah. The new Wag's Revue bridged everyone's gaps. Even Dave Eggers, the douchebag author with the heart of gold.

[cut to 826 Valencia]

Peter: Hi, Dave. Hey, can I have an interview?

Eggers: No! But if you come any closer, I'll slice you!

Peter: Okay! Okay! Man, what a douchebag!

Man: Yeah? That douchebag just gave half his paycheck to under-privileged inner-city kids. Under-privileged inner-city kids who CAN'T READ!

[Sentimental instrumental music]
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:58 AM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ah, the affirmation is liberating!
posted by jabberjaw at 9:59 AM on May 1, 2009


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